• Paul Wallace

Song of Songs 3

Song of Songs 3:1-2 (ESV) 1  On my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not. 2  I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him, but found him not.

The ESV heading says this section is a dream. They come to that conclusion because chapter four sounds so much like a wedding and they don’t want to have her actually sleeping with the man until the marriage. After all, she is telling the young virgins to hold their passion in check until the right time. But as this is a song and in no particular chronological order, we need not be concerned about the timing and whether or not it is a dream or relaying an actual experience.


Couples, have you ever woken at night and reached over and found your spouse was not there? This is the case here. She wants him by her side even as she sleeps. He has his business during the day, but all night he belongs to her. So, she determines to get up and go out in the city streets and squares to search for him. Her desire to be with him. Love drives her on, but she can't find him.


What do you do when you wake in the middle of the night and can't sleep? There is another who is awake, for the Lord neither slumbers or sleeps (Psalm 121:4). Do you immediately delight in the fact that the two of you are together without distractions? Or are you upset that you can't sleep? Imagine the Lord's disappointment when you run to the cupboard for some melatonin. He was waiting to hear your voice. That's what this book is teaching us. Will we hear this message and keep it in our hearts?

Song of Songs 3:3-4 (ESV) 3  The watchmen found me as they went about in the city.“Have you seen him whom my soul loves?” 4  Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves.I held him, and would not let him gountil I had brought him into my mother’s house,and into the chamber of her who conceived me.

The watchmen are like police patrolling the city streets because people are accosted at night. She is taking a risk to go out into those dark streets, but her love for her man drives her on. She asks the watchmen with language that confesses her love for the king. With disappointment she hears that they have not seen him. Just a few steps further and there he is. She clings to him and will not let him go, insisting that he go back to bed with her.


Do you recall when Mary heard the resurrected Jesus call her name that He had to ask her not to cling to Him for He had not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17)? Well, now He has. He is in the glory He had with the Father before the incarnation (John 17:5). Now we can cling to Him and never let Him go! Are you?


Jewish marriages were consummated in the room where the bride was conceived. The language here suggests that when she gets him back in bed with her, it is the honeymoon night all over again. (in 1:4; 2:4; 3:4 "brought" seems to conclude with sexual intimacy). We are back to the idea of not forsaking our first love, but keeping the passion burning.


As the bride of Christ, we are to persistently pursue our groom with passion. May we be ever so persistently pursuing our Savior and Lover of our souls until the wedding feast of the Lamb when we will never need to part. Then there will be no need to strive to keep the passion alive. Familiarity will not breed complacency, but only make our passion stronger. That's because there will forever be more wonders to learn about the greatness and love of our Lord.

Song of Songs 3:5 (ESV) I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field,that you not stir up or awaken loveuntil it pleases.

When the bride sings of these intimate moments, the virgin daughters of Jerusalem desire to experience them same. She must remind them to wait until the proper time with the proper man in the confines of marriage. Wildfires are so destructive, like passion expressed in the wrong place, the wrong time, over the wrong things. The warning is so important that it is expressed four times in this song.

Song of Songs 3:6-8 (ESV) 6  What is that coming up from the wilderness like columns of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the fragrant powders of a merchant? 7  Behold, it is the litter of Solomon! Around it are sixty mighty men, some of the mighty men of Israel, 8  all of them wearing swords and expert in war, each with his sword at his thigh, against terror by night.

Many interpret this as Solomon arriving for the wedding. That is what they call the previous passage and the opening one dreams. They do not want pre-marital sex to be lauded in Scripture and rightly so. However, if the man in the song is Solomon, this magnificent arrival need not be his wedding day. He would often appear in this manner with the anointing oils of a king and an armed escort, especially if he had been out in the wilderness. Nor do the verses in the song need to be in chronological order. The description does have a theophonic tone to it. It reminds us of Ezekiel's chariot of God (Ezekiel 1:4-8).

Song of Songs 3:9-10 (ESV) 9  King Solomon made himself a carriage from the wood of Lebanon. 10  He made its posts of silver, its back of gold, its seat of purple; its interior was inlaid with love by the daughters of Jerusalem.

Not only is he one handsome, powerful, and wealthy man, but he has the nicest of rides. In high school we called the nicer cars babe magnets. Solomon had by far the best. Jesus has the best of everything for us. Hard to believe? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 By this I don't mean material prosperity in this life. God blesses some people with that, but often it can be a distraction from the truly valuable things. But what He has for us in heaven far outweighs anything we endure for Him here (Romans 8:18).


Here we see that the groom is named clearly. However, a number of commentators suggest that Solomon is used in the poem for descriptive/symbolic purposes only. In other words, this woman thinks of her shepherd husband as her king, and in his own way as wonderful and magnificent as any king. If that is the case, the author is using it as an ironic contrast between Solomon's pageantry and the joy and fulfillment of this couples unspectacular but committed love life. It would be similar to the way Jesus used Solomon as an example of being wonderfully dressed and yet not nearly as beautiful as a flower of the field.


The commentators use 8:12b as proof of the idea. I like it as it appeals to my reasoning that one woman in a harem of a thousand could not feel like this woman does. But on the other hand, I don't think half a verse proves their conjecture.

Song of Songs 3:11 (ESV) Go out, O daughters of Zion, and look upon King Solomon, with the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, on the day of the gladness of his heart.

The day of our wedding with the King of kings will be the day of the gladness of His heart. He has been waiting 2000 years and refrained from the fruit of the vine (symbolic of rejoicing) all that time in expectation of that day (Isaiah 62:5; Psalm 104:15; Matthew 26:29).


The joy of Christ is mentioned in the parallel Psalm 45. 7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; We know it is about Jesus because it is quoted in Hebrews 1:8,9. It is hard to comprehend that on that day of the marriage feast of the Lamb we will give Him such great joy.


The Shulammite woman is evangelizing the daughters of Zion. Go out and look at the man I love, the King! Aren't you jealous of the fact that He married me, that He was so glad to make me His bride? That's one way to evangelize. Tell of the joy you experience with Him, and of His joy when He makes us His own. I wouldn't start with this symbolism, but for some women that might even be helpful. We often say that if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't. Here is the exception. The grace and love of God, so undeserved has been lavished on us.

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ (Ephesians 1:7-9, ESV).


It's hard to believe because we know ourselves too well. But here is another mystery: 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Together we will make up the glorious, spotless bride of Christ!


Kent Hughes draws a parallel to Zacchaeus. He sought Jesus, found Him, and brought Him to his home, and then gave his life to Jesus. Yet, at the same time Jesus was seeking him, found him, brought him home to the family of God, and will not let him go (Luke 19:1-10). Zacchaeus became a part of the bride of Christ. As I like to say, "He married up, way up!" That's the story of every born-again believer. I hope you realize how far up you married.

Questions

  1. Have you found the middle of the night to be a good time to pray?

  2. When you don’t sense Jesus is near, what do you do?

  3. Are we clinging to Jesus and not letting Him go? How do we do that?

  4. Do you believe that Jesus has the best of everything for you?

  5. Are you, like Jesus, living in expectation of the wedding feast of the Lamb?

  6. How has the grace of God been lavished upon you?

  7. Have you married up, far beyond your own level?

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